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Long ago in a galaxy far far away last spring in Austin the Governor was asked by a hard charging local reporter if he planned to use the Internet in his presidential campaign. “Yes,” came the frank and forthright answer fruit of what the Bush family calls “the vision thing.” A few months later, Left Field is pretty sure this is not what Dubya had in mind. Oh, the Bush campaign duly maintains its official website at www.georgewbush.com , where the faithful can “Meet the Governor” and Laura, muse over old speeches, and peruse the daily endorsements and press releases. But really surfing the Governor on the World Wide Web is far more likely to turn up skepticism, mockery, or downright impudence. A current healthy example is at www.bushsuckz.com , whose impertinent spelling serves to defeat Bush operative Karl Rove’s attempt to buy up all the web domain names insult the Bush Who Would Be President: bushbites.com , bushsucks.com , bushblows.com … you get the idea. Indeed, in a Rovean strategy of reverse psychology, surfing ” sends the hapless wanderer back to the official Bush campaign site with the Bush policy statement on agriculture, a sure prescription to dissuade visitors from ever saying, “Bush Sucks!” again. For this kind of strategic thinking, candidates pay big bucks. The BushSuckz site is devoted to “Free Speech on the Net,” and takes particular aim at the candidate’s offhand dismissal of the idea: “There ought to be limits to freedom,” said Dubya, when his operation was plagued by another Bush parody site www.gwbush.com which mimicked his official site and took dead aim at his personal waffling on the drug issue. “Hypocrisy with Bravado” is the slogan posted on gwbush.com , which like its subject bravely declares itself “Drug Free Since 1974.” There are several other single-issue Bush web sites. But there are also a couple of more serious and extensive sites devoted to in-depth analysis of Bush’s record, his campaign, and the journalistic coverage thereof. Among the best is www.georgebush2000.com , sponsored by “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” which offers an issue by issue analysis of the Bush record in Texas along with links to much of the best critical coverage including what it describes as “the most comprehensive website on George W. Bush.” That would be “The Bush Watch,” maintained in Austin by a retired educator who goes by the name “Jerry Politex.” In addition to exhaustive connections to the worldwide coverage of the presidential campaign, Politex offers his own regular acerbic, fair, and witty commentaries on the Bush news of the day, featured links on sional special features \(e.g., a very funny parody interPolitex told Left Field he devotes six to ten hours a day on the site \(“if there were more hours in the day, I would subject candidate, he’s not impressed by the rest of the field either. “I’m looking for the lesser of two weasels,” he laughed. His site categorizes Bush-related material chronologically and by subject, and it’s also become a nexus for Bush information around the world. Most recently, the Bush campaign posted its fundraising information on its site but in unsortable form, saying to do so would cost thousands of dollars and take thousands of hours. Shortly thereafter, Bush Watch correspondent and cyber-jockey Elliotte Rusty Harold posted a sorted version on his site, with the wry comment, “Actually it decoded version of the Bush list for searching and sorting,” reported Politex helpfully, “go to http://metalab. unc.edu/javafaq/bush/ .” No, when Dubya promised to use the Internet, this sort of chip-roots democracy is definitely not what he had in mind. Oh, and by the way: while you’re at it, check out the Observer’s Bush site at www.bushfiles.com . Surfs up! + “Cattle,” from page 5 cheeked Warblers. Amazingly, the cattlemen have not only been allowed to destroy the habitat, they have actually been paid to do so by the state and the federal government. The Department of Defense has contracted with C.T.C.A. to perform $5 million per year worth of juniper clearing, with the dual purpose of opening more of the base for training maneuvers and clearing land for cattle grazing. At the same time, C.T.C.A. has applied for and received funds through an E.P.A. program for “watershed improvement”; the plan calls for extensive deforestation. All told, about 30,000 acres of Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat have been destroyed in the last two years. Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have signed off on the deals, with the support of Governor Bush, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Congressman Chet Edwards. Army must pony up $200-400 per carcass. The Army also estimates losses of about 2,000 hours per year in training time and 2,500 lost manhours, due to pauses in train ing associated with bovine interference. But efforts to limit grazing have bumped up against the association’s considerable network of friends in high places. According to level Texas Parks and Wildlife employees apparently helped the association kill a proposed cattle-exclusion study, designed by Fort Hood officials and The Nature Conservancy, which sought to assess the impact of cattle grazing on levels of cowbird nest parasitism, a leading threat to songbird populations. Most recently, C.T.C.A. managed to forestall an effort by federal authorities to defer grazing in endangered songbird habitat during breeding seasons, by offering to trap cowbirds on private land surrounding the base, in an agreement PEER scientist Dean Keddy-Hector labeled a “bogus cover for what would in fact be increased [cattle] stocking rates and a public subsidy of predator control.” The real threat, he noted, is not nest predation \(which caused by too many cows, too much grazing, and too much habitat destruction. + 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 1, 1999